Friday, October 6, 2017

Thumbs up once again

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Back in May, I wrote about how my thumb had stopped working. My GP (or whatever they're called these days) said (without looking at it) that I had arthritis. My gut feeling told me she was wrong. (And she was.)  A couple of readers suggested my sore thumb might be suffering from something called De Quervain's disease, but that didn't seem quite right (as I looked up the symptoms), either.

All I know is that my hand was in total agony for about 12-13 hours a day. I'm pretty sure it became inflamed because I'm on the computer most of the day and use the mouse a lot, especially when I do graphics. My thumb would get stuck in one position and I would literally scream when moving it back into a more comfortable place. (Mr. L's hair would stand on end when that happened.)

I finally went back to the GP a few weeks back and she referred me to a hand surgeon. (After telling me for a SECOND TIME that it was "only arthritis." HA!)

SURGEON??????? Holy crap.

But I was desperate, so I booked an appointment.

And then a funny thing happened.  Ten days before the appointment, my thumb started working again. Not all the time, but I could bend it back-and-forth for as long as half an hour every few hours and it didn't get stuck in the painful position anymore. YAY.  I could cancel my appointment with the hand surgeon.

Except I didn't. I wondered, what if it gets bad again?  I'd better go.

And I did.  He barely looked at my hand before saying, "Trigger Thumb." Next thing I know, I'm getting a cortisone shot and out the door I go.

He told me that if you have to have something bad happen to your hand, trigger thumb (and I assume finger) is the easiest thing to fix. Even if the cortisone shot doesn't work, out-patient (as in his office) surgery can fix it with a few snips--good as new and it would never happen again.

According to him, the cortisone shot would take 5-7 days to work, and that it may or may not be a long-term fix. But I'm telling you, even if it's only the placebo effect, my thumb is already back to 90% after only two days. It hasn't kept me awake for the last two nights, it barely hurts at all, and I gave it quite a workout earlier today with chopping and assembling goody bags for a craft show I'm doing next Saturday.

Holy crap! It's like a miracle!

Of course, my health insurance has a high deductible, so it cost me $202 to get my thumb fixed. The best $200 I ever spent. I sure wish I'd insisted on having someone (with actual hand knowledge) look at it sooner. I could have saved myself an entire summer of pain. But it's working now and I'm a happy camper.

Have you ever had an experience like that?

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